Vietnam: MobiFone seeks to tap pay TV market, to acquire An Vien parent

Visual from MobiFone website

Vietnamese mobile network operator MobiFone is planning to acquire 95 per cent stake of Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG), the owner of An Vien pay TV, a move seen as the telecom major’s effort to compete with two other giants in the country.

The intention was revealed to a local newswire called Zing News, after MobiFone chairman Le Nam Tra disclosed in an earlier meeting that the carrier will invest in providing broadcasting services.

“We will invest in essential infrastructure to deliver television services as well as join the government’s initiative of television digitalisation. The development of television services will help reinforce our competitiveness,” Tra said at the company’s meeting on December 31.

Pham Nhat Vu, chairman of the privately owned pay TV operator, was reportedly present at the MobiFone meeting.

Having a leg in the new category of business, the state-owned carrier plans to diversify amid telecommunications competition with two other state-owned network firms VNPT and Viettel, and amid its IPO preparation. While VNPT is offering over 130 premium channels, Viettel has also provided its own subscription-based television services.

As per the privatisation of MobiFone, Vietnam’s communications minister Nguyen Bac Son was affirmative that its upcoming IPO will bring about a much larger sum of money than the collective IPOs of nearly 560 state-owned firms within the past five years. While the state has divested some VND15 trillion ($667 million) from these enterprises during the 2011-2015 period, Son hoped a VND20 trillion IPO for MobiFone.

Having entered the premium television market since 2011, AVG’s operation has been challenged by a spate of both state and private players like VTVCab, Saigontourist Cable TV, VTC Digital and France’s Kplus. Zing News cited industry experts that AVG decided to sell the business to MobiFone due to the burden of losses.

Meanwhile, MobiFone is trying to tap the stiff but highly promising pay TV market, as the local government targets by 2020, digital television will replace analog television across the country.

Also read: Vietnam state broadcaster VTV to divest stake in three pay TV units

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